Why We Must Vote Cuomo Tuesday
November 3, 2014
The cornerstone of liberalism is its anchor in social equity. Liberals have long been the champions of those in society disadvantaged by systemic inequalities. Rooting political beliefs in the concern for the well-being of all is the ideal that built the modern Democratic Party.
But the Democratic Party is developing a somewhat lunatic fringe. An insidious subset of members whose closed-minded, protectionist views drive them to surprising lengths to protect a status quo deeply in need of repair.
This subset claim to share our desire to achieve social equity, but when you raise the topic of public education, a very different narrative emerges.
On one hand, progressive reformers advocate for more high-quality public school options and policies that recognize and value good teaching. We fight for programs that collect knowledge and data about how students and schools are performing so we can find ways to boost student achievement AND graduation rates AND college completion AND job opportunities AND get closer to income equality AND stem the school-to-prison pipeline AND one day end the cycle of poverty that plagues communities all over the country. We’re looking to create a positive “pipeline” in education, one that leads every student from early childhood education to a quality public school and ultimately to a successful life filled with opportunity. And so far, it’s working: black and Latino college enrollment and completion data shows steady increases over the past few years (analysis can be found here).
This subset of Dems claims that reform policies are some type of corporate privatization conspiracy: that somehow better outcomes for kids benefit the rich. That our public schools are just fine and poverty is the primary factor to blame for low student achievement and graduation rates. Anyone who challenges this theory becomes a target; even it includes an inflammatory mailing with a battered woman in an effort to draw negative attention to a challenger.
Enter the new target: Governor Cuomo. The Governor made a statement this week calling public schools one of the only remaining public monopolies, and promising to strengthen teacher evaluations and good public charter school options for families. The Governor’s policies are directly in line with traditional Democratic values. Yet, instead of backing these Democratic principles and joining the fight for more social equity, NYSUT, the state’s largest teachers union, wrote an open letter thanking Rob Astorino, Cuomo’s Republican challenger.
Astorino, whose plan reads like it came out of a 15-year-old time capsule, wants to bring back vocational instruction like home economics and carpentry for students who are not on a path to attend college. His points fit most squarely within the right-leaning notion that income inequality is inevitable and that some students deserve more opportunities than others. That’s not good policy, and more importantly, it’s wrong.
Reelecting Governor Cuomo is the only choice on Tuesday. His education policies are progressive and they push our state to its rightful place at the front of the pack. We must continue to eradicate systemic injustices in public education, because the failing school model in low-income communities cannot be our status quo. As Democrats, we must continue to support leaders like Governor Cuomo who continue to elevate the conversation about good education policy for all children.
By Nicole Brisbane, DFER-NY State Director
July 13, 2022
June 25, 2022